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Search & Rescue

Update on search for missing person in the area of Amboy Crater


June 25, 2018 Update

AMBOY, Calif – Over the weekend members of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Morongo Search & Rescue continued combing the area of Amboy Crater looking for Susan Schmeirer (age 65 of Williamsburg, Virginia). By 10:30 a.m. ground temperatures hit 130 degrees and by 2:00 p.m. the ground temperatures reached 165 degrees with an air temperature of 117 degrees. Due to the hot temperatures by 10:30 a.m., the use of search dogs was terminated. The rough terrain and weather conditions disabled two sheriff’s department off-highway search and rescue vehicles.

Susan and William Schmeirer’ s family hired the services of DroneUp out of Chesapeake, Virginia, to conduct fly-over with their drones. Seventy-eight analysts associated with DroneUp reviewed the captured video/photos and identified areas of interest to be searched. This gave exact GPS coordinates for search and rescue members on the ground. DroneUp offered their services for free to the family members of Susan.

Investigators located video surveillance footage showing the missing adult June 2, 2018, at 11:13 a.m., the couple was last seen alive at the Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark. The video footage is not available for release.

Foul play is not suspected at this time. Susan has not been located.


On June 13, 2018, officials from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) notified Sheriff's Dispatch of a vehicle that had been parked at the Amboy Crater Trailhead parking lot for approximately 10 days and appeared to be abandoned (see Continued search for missing person in the area of the Amboy Crater). BLM Rangers conducted a preliminary investigation and requested the assistance of the Sheriff's Department. Sheriff's aviation, 40K3, immediately responded to the location and conducted an extensive aerial search of the area, Unfortunately, they were unable to locate the victims.

Investigators found the couple who own the vehicle, Susan Schmeirer and William Schmeirer, had left their home in Virginia on a cross-country road-trip vacation on May 27, 2018, and were due to arrive in Palm Springs on or about June 2, 2018.

The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department - Morongo Basin Station coordinated and conducted an extensive search of the area on June 16, 2018, utilizing Sheriff Deputies, a Sheriff's helicopter, highly trained Morongo Basin Search and Rescue volunteers, and a trained search dog.

Search personnel located human remains of a deceased male matching the description of William Schmeirer (age 64 of Williamsburg, Virginia), but positive identification of the body is pending from the Coroner's Division. The cause of death of the unidentified male is unknown and is pending autopsy.

The whereabouts of Susan Schmeirer is currently unknown. The Sheriff's Department is continuing the search and investigation, Search and Rescue volunteers are scheduled to conduct another major search operation of the Amboy Crater area this weekend.

While the Sheriff's Department appreciates the overwhelming support local desert community members have provided in recent similar situations, the Department would like to remind members of public of the dangers inherent in conducting their own searches. With temperatures predicted to rise in the coming days, please remember, daytime temperatures in that area will be extremely high. Ground temperatures will be even higher due to the dark lava rock ground cover. There is poor or no cell phone service in this very remote desert area.

Anyone with information related to the investigation is asked to contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Morongo Basin Station at (760)366-4175.



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